FDA re­stric­tions planned for e-cigs.

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Lau­rie McGinley

WASH­ING­TON » The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, alarmed by a huge in­crease in va­p­ing among mi­nors, is ex­pected to im­pose se­vere re­stric­tions on the sale of most e- ci­garettes prod­ucts through­out the United States — ac­tions that will likely have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on an in­dus­try that has grown ex­po­nen­tially in re­cent years with lit­tle govern­ment over­sight.

As soon as next week, FDA Com­mis­sioner Scott Got­tlieb is ex­pected to an­nounce a ban on the sale of f la­vored e- ci­garettes — the ma­jor­ity of va­p­ing prod­ucts sold — in tens of thou­sands of con­ve­nience stores and gas sta­tions across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to se­nior agency of­fi­cials. Ac­cord­ing to its of­fi­cials, the agency will also im­pose such rules as age-ver­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments for on­line sales.

The FDA moves are be­ing spurred by pre­lim­i­nary govern­ment data show­ing e- cig­a­rette use rose 77 per­cent among high school­ers and nearly 50 per­cent among mid- dle school­ers in 2018. That means 3.5 mil­lion chil­dren were va­p­ing in early 2018, up 1 mil­lion from 2017.

Got­tlieb, who once served on the board of a North Carolina va­p­ing com­pany, was at one time viewed as an ally of the e- cig­a­rette in­dus­try, and de­layed some crit­i­cal eci­garette rules shortly af­ter be­com­ing com­mis­sioner in 2017. But he has also said his first pri­or­ity is pro­tect­ing kids from to­bacco-re­lated dis­ease.

“We now have ev­i­dence that a new gen­er­a­tion is be­ing ad­dicted to nicotine, and we can’t tol­er­ate that,” he said, re­fer­ring to the va­p­ing data in an in­ter­view be­fore he made fi­nal de­ci­sions on e- cig­a­rette pol­icy.

The only ex­cep­tion to the f la­vored prod­ucts ban in con­ve­nience stores in­volves men­thol e- cig­a­rette prod­ucts. The FDA will con­tinue to per­mit that f la­vor to be sold be­cause men­thol is per­mit­ted in reg­u­lar ci­garettes as well, and the agency doesn’t want to give tra­di­tional ci­garettes an ad­van­tage over e- ci­garettes in the re­tail set­ting.

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